WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 21st January
Brecon 5 - Gwernyfed 8
The match between Brecon and Gwernyfed had all the ingredients of an intense derby match. In front of a big crowd both sides had a lot gain and a lot to lose. Brecon, having lost their last four matches against their nearest rivals, were desperate to put a stop to that run and there was a quiet confidence in the home camp following their five wins from their last six league matches. Gwernyfed, by contrast had been through a lean spell winning just one of their last five league matches, but they were equally determined to extend their proud record and earn a win which could re-ignite their campaign. What transpired was a hard fought game with the result in doubt up to the final whistle. Eventually the narrow victory went to Gwernyfed who, particularly in the second half, adapted to difficult conditions by far the better of the two sides.
With the pitch fairly heavy and a gale blowing downfield, expansive
play was never going to be easy and mistakes needed to be kept to a minimum.
Both sides in fairness played their best rugby when facing the gale.
Brecon started with the wind in their faces and during the early stages
of the game both sides looked to keep the ball in areas where support
was readily available. Brecon chose to drive down fairly narrow channels
while Gwernyfed looked to use the wind to gain a territorial foothold.
In spite of the wind advantage Gwernyfed found it difficult to maintain
that territorial dominance as Brecon defended well and drove back hard
and deep into the opposition half. With little quarter given, few scoring
opportunities arose until Gwernyfed were offered a penalty chance as
a result of Brecon ill-discipline.
Gwenyfed’s lead was almost immediately overturned as Brecon nearly capitalised on a big mistake in Gwernyfed’s 22. A wild pass allowed Brecon’s Gari Davies the opportunity to gather the ball. He made good ground and crossed the try line only to be held up. Even so the resulting 5 metre scrum offered many possibilities but from that position Brecon gave away a penalty and the opportunity was well and truly lost.
However, Brecon gained confidence from the situation and certainly looked the sharper of the two sides for the remainder of the half. A drive off a great line out catch by flanker Osian Davies almost carried Brecon to the line. Then with the half drawing to its close Brecon managed to string a good movement together and when Tom Daley fed full back Owen Morgan it looked as if he may be through only for him to be recalled for a forward pass.
At half time there must have been contrasting emotions during the respective team talks. Brecon had weathered the elements and were turning around just 3 points down. Gwernyfed by contrast were now facing a gale for 40 minutes with a cushion of just 3 points. The impact of whatever was said was clear to see from the kick off. Gwernyfed Immediately set out their stall and with Richard East, George Bardon and Steve Harley in the vanguard they showed great patience and no little skill in picking and driving off each new phase. In those early stages they managed to keep the ball away from their opponents and made ground slowly while denying Brecon any opportunity to use the elements which favoured them. As a result much of the game took place in the middle third of the field rather than in the Gwernyfed 22.
When Brecon did gain the ball they made mistakes as the realisation dawned that the game had to be won rather than it was already won. On three occasions Brecon kicked the ball dead and play was brought back to deep in their half. As their frustration mounted Gwernyfed became more assertive. Wing Huw Wright and centre Gareth Dodd showed that they too could be dangerous but the stalemate continued.
Finally something gave. Brecon’s outside half Eifion Jones made a break and great support and good hands from replacement number 8 Cashel Chilvers created the gap for flanker Osian Davies. He sprinted in from 22 metres out and Brecon at last had a lead.
Osian again featured from the kick off as he made a great catch but Brecon were penalised and although the attempted penalty failed, Brecon found themselves under pressure. Gwernyfed again patiently worked their way upfield and to within ten metres of the Brecon line. There at a ruck the ball was turned over. Brecon set themselves for a relieving kick which Gwernyfed anticipated and when Eifion Jones received the ball he was under such pressure that he was forced to minor. Gwernyfed had a great opportunity as they were awarded a 5 metre scrum and they made the most of their chance. Although the first thrust was repelled they again maintained their continuity and eventually the pack drove replacement wing M Price over for a match winning score.
In the remaining minutes Brecon tried hard to rescue the game but Gwernfed
were not to be denied and much to the joy of the team and its supporters
the final whistle confirmed that they would be the ones who would be
celebrating long into the night.
© Brecon RFC 2006-2012